Thanks to DCentric for reporting on my blog! I'm glad that some people enjoyed "nerding out." Just wanted to clarify a couple of things regarding my post "Is Racial Segregation caused by Racism?" two weeks ago.
On DCentric, one commenter wrote, "This reporting seems biased. There are a large number of whites moving into mostly black neighborhoods here in DC. I think its more class than race in most cases. People who are educated and can afford it will move to be around other educated neighborhoods. If that excludes blacks, then whose fault is that?"
I'm glad that you brought up class. The study I cited tested for class-based reasons and racist reasons and found that, even when the neighborhood described to the survey respondents (all whites) had all the qualities desired by middle-class people (high-quality schools, increasing property values, and a low crime rate, as well as a location near work), whites still stated that they would not buy a house in the neighborhood if there were more than 15% blacks. When thinking about potential black neighbors, race still mattered significantly no matter the class characteristics of the neighborhood.
Another commenter wrote, "I'm curious to find out the 'other reasons' that whites avoid areas with nontoken percentages of Asians and Latinos, if not race." Thanks for letting me clarify this. The study found that whites primarily chose a house based on the class-based reasons; the racial composition of the neighborhood was not a significant issue when the racial group was Latino or Asian. When thinking about potential Latino or Asian neighbors, race did not significantly matter to whites.
The first commenter brings up another relevant point. This study presents a rather average white person, thus not capturing some whites who seek to live in diverse or majority black neighborhoods. I have to read more about these people. However, sociologists have found that wealthy, educated blacks often live in worse neighborhoods than less wealthy whites. In a previous post "Racial Segregation in DC (continued)," I talked about a study by DC sociologists Gregory D. Squires, Samantha Friedman, and Catherine E. Saidat, who called 921 DC/VA/MD residents of a variety of races and found that blacks were significantly more likely than whites to experience discrimination on the housing market. Their findings support those of a 1998 Fair Housing Council of Greater Washington study, in which the Council sent out pairs of people (one black and one white) to investigate the local housing and mortgage market. According to Squires and his colleagues, "Investigators found that blacks were discriminated against 33% of the time in their efforts to buy homes, 44% of the time when they attempted to rent, and 37% of the times they applied for mortgage loans. Discriminatory practices included racial steering, misrepresentation about the availability of homes, differences in rental rates for the same units and the number of units that were shown, disparities in mortgage interest rates, differential application of particular stands, and others." Therefore, the white nature of "educated neighborhoods" is not purely the result of economic reasons, educational levels, or personal choices.
Also, we should research whether what appears to be a racially integrated neighborhood like that in Ward 6 is really racially integrated, especially in social life. Is the idea that Capitol Hill is racially integrated just a fantasy?